Harper Woods, Michigan, is a tiny speck on a map of Detroit. It lies in Wayne County, just outside the northeasternmost tip of the Detroit city limits, and has a burgeoning population of approximately 15,000 people, most of whom are past retirement age. Many of the inhabitants are of Eastern European/Polish descent and most of them have lived there since before the town was incorporated in 1951.

Up until the beginning of the 1990s, Harper Woods was almost an exclusively caucasian town, despite its extremely close proximity to Detroit proper. The town's southern and western borders (7 Mile Road and Kelly Road, respectively) run right alongside the Detroit borders. Two-thirds of the town lie west of Interstate 94, on the eastern side of which the more upscale tenements of Harper Woods are laid out.

Harper Woods is a boring yet convenient place to live. It's about 20 minutes in good traffic from downtown Detroit, 45 minutes on average to most of the outer suburbs due to its proximity to I-94 (and therefore Interstates 96, 696 and 75), and is along a nearly direct route to Canada via the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel to Windsor, Ontario. The Ambassador Bridge, which also leads to Windsor, lies a bit further south along the same route.

Crime rates have increased over the last 15 years or so, as has poverty. Harper Woods police are notorious for their strict methods of enforcing the almost city-wide 25 miles per hour speed limit, and have been accused of racial profiling several times over the past few years. One study indicates that 42% of traffic tickets are issued to black drivers (read: Detroiters), yet they account for only 32% of total traffic. As with any small suburb, there's not a lot to do, and many teenagers are prone to drug use, shoplifting, vandalism and street racing. This mostly stops once they reach age 16 and start driving, leading to the realization that more worthwhile activities can be had outside the Harper Woods city limits.

The city's emblem is a large, white kidney bean with a pine tree superimposed on top of it, on a black background. I am unable to sufficiently explain the logic behind this, other than it smacks of the 1950s, which is when Harper Woods was founded.


  • Eastland Mall (yes, that's the extent of the excitement in Harper Woods) UP-DATE 2022! Eastland Mall was demolished to make way for a hyperspace bypass. Er—sorry—...for a likely Amazon warehouse and fullfilment campus built in the space formerly occupied by the mall.
  • The Royal Eagle, which is apparently the most authentic Russian tea room/Far Russian East experience one can get bar the real thing. It's located on the street I grew up on, Old Homestead, a few houses down from where I lived. When I was growing up across and down the street from it for years, the property spanned three plats and is now situated on where three houses once stood. Their backyard is also made up for the experience, and Old Homestead backyards are notoriously huge, and reportedly contains a monastery of sorts. It figures that something this interesting would pop up just down the street within a few years of my moving on. 18605 Old Homestead, Harper Woods.

I lived in Harper Woods from 1983 to 1998. I don't particularly miss it. Indeed, fifteen years after I noded my hometown, it's acquired a fairly poor reputation for safety, racial profiling, police corruption and rising crime rates. I read an article somewhere which ranked the Detroit suburbs, from bad to worst, with no particular suburb given any positive attributes whatsoever. The blurb included for Harper Woods stated, simply, "Just don't."


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